Archive for June, 2010

BASEBALL, AMERICA’S GAME, AMERICA’S PASSION!

June 30, 2010

I’m going to start today’s comments with a heartfelt birthday greeting for my all-time baseball hero and hero in general, Harmon Clayton Killebrew. Happy 74th, Killer! Harmon is the guiding light for all players in the Minnesota Twins organization going back to the early 1960’s. Harmon is a gentleman always, and he imparts that on all the Twins in the organization. The Twins have a rich history of quality people, not just ball players. They’ve had characters, no doubt, but never self-serving thugs. The Twins ball players have always been involved in community betterment programs in and around the Twin Cities and in their own hometowns. Management in the Twins organization has always placed a premium on good work habits, team effort, and being great citizens. A little thing that exemplifies the Twins is their long history of being fundamentally sound. Always a leader in fielding, bunting, hitting the cut-off man, etc. These are aspects of the game that contribute to the TEAM results, not individual stats.

If one were to take a careful examination of the professional sports teams in America, it is baseball that best represents what’s great about America. Play team ball, work hard toward team results, be good citizens in the community, and represent the sport with reverence, dignity, and respect. In my opinion, no other sport can make such a claim or even come close to being a positive role model for the youth of the country. These guys, for the most part, are great guys dedicated to the sport and willing to make the sacrifices for the betterment of the sport and not individual stats. Tell me another sport that can make such a claim. You can’t!

The incidences of criminal activity are virtually non-existent with baseball players while the newspapers are filled with stories daily about the thug drug, guns, and other crimes, assault etc., committed by NFL and NBA players. It’s all about the focus of the sport. Obviously baseball in America has chosen to be positive role model for kids and good citizens in their particular communities and football and basketball have not!

Baseball is a game that forces the players to think about game situations, it’s a very cerebral game that requires attention to detail, focus, and practice. It’s includes the most difficult single athletic activity in sports, successfully hitting a pitched baseball! Baseball requires difficult to master skills, hand-eye coordination, strategy, and thinking. Because it is a difficult sport to master, and does require long hard hours of practice, unfortunately baseball in America for the youngsters is losing popularity. This is too bad, because it is such a great athletic activity that calls for such great skills and thought processes. Baseball stirs a passionate fire inside of me like no other sport, especially when talking about the Minnesota Twins, the South Carolina Gamecocks, and the Minnesota Gophers.

A great baseball night yesterday. First, the Twins crushed the Tigers to move back into first place in the division, and then a dream of mine since 1973, the University of South Carolina Fighting Gamecocks won the College World Series and are now the 2010 NCAA Champions! My heart was crushed twice in my years at Carolina, in 1975 and in 1977. We went to the championship game and loss both times! Amateur baseball, especially college ball, is such a pure form of the sport at high level of quality. While at Carolina, we had very competitive football teams, we had a basketball team that was a national power under coach Frank McGuire, but I waited for January and the start of baseball season every year. Our baseball stadium, Sarge Frye Field was a pure baseball treasure. Bleachers surrounded the infield and extended down the left field foul line, the right field area was taken up by outdoor racquetball courts. The background behind the bleachers was the home of the “Roost”, the scholarship athletes dorms. The field itself was considered one of the premier fields in the country, the best under the majors. Palm trees lined the outfield fences and swayed in the hot breezes of those sunny South Carolina afternoons. I looked forward to many days a week, walking from my dorm to the Roost to catch some rays and the ‘Cocks on the field. We great attendance at all of our games as the “townies” also came in droves to watch and appreciate a great game.

Bobby Richardson was the coach for the ‘Cocks team when I was there. Present day coach, Ray Tanner was one of Bobby’s assistant coaches. Carolina had some awesome and All-American players while I was there. Hank Small, Gary Hancock, Ed Lynch, Mookie Wilson, Eddie Ford and many more. A lot of these guys made it to the majors! These kids play college ball for the sheer love of the game, and it shows on the field. Oh, they also get there educations paid for! What’s interesting is most NCAA D-1 baseball teams sport the highest GPA and grad rates of any of the scholarship sports at their particular school!

Yes, baseball is the “pastime of America”. The Minnesota Twins are enjoying their first year in the beautiful new Target Field. What a grand gesture the Twins made to amateur baseball in Minnesota by inviting the University of Minnesota Gophers baseball team to inaugurate the new stadium with a game. Unfortunately, the Gophers lost! Then the Twins invited the Minnesota State High School League to play the championship games of all three levels at Target Field! Baseball really is the face of what’s great in America. It is the picture of decency in sport possibly only rivaled by golf.

The Twins have been in a rut of late. The pitching stinks, other than Pavano, and they haven’t been worth a crap all season in situational hitting. The injuries have been killing them. Many games they are starting two and three minor leaguers to fill the holes left by the injured players. Credit Manager Ron Gardenhire for keeping them competitive during this stretch. I believe that once we get the starters back and the pitchers rediscover their grooves, the Twins will prove to be the best team in the division again.I love them and I hate them, in situations, but that’s the life of a dyed in the wool fan of the greatest sport there is, baseball! Thanks for today’s read.
Cam Obert

ANOTHER AMERICAN HERO FROM MINNESOTA? YOU BET!…

June 29, 2010

…his name is Senator Al Franken. It appears Senator Franken is the only Democrat in the U.S. Senate that has balls big enough to take on the Robert’s SCOTUS and call it out for what it is, AN ACTIVIST COURT LEGISLATING FROM THE BENCH! I’m looking forward to watching Senator Franken in action during the Elena Kagan nomination confirmation hearings.

As his fellow Democrats on the Judiciary Committee follow a “don’t make waves” line in the confirmation process, our Junior Senator will do the job important to all patriotic Americans and begin the process of returning the SCOTUS to what it is supposed to be according to the Constitution, a watchdog for the Constitution and for the rights of Americans and the “American way of life”. The problem with this present court is the disturbing list to the right that has slowly become an advocate for things and entities other than American individuals and their rights. In a study released recently, the results show that of the twenty most conservative associates to ever sit on the SCOTUS, FOUR of them are seated today! With the fifth justice also near that level, the interests of the huge lobbies, Corporate America, and other issues not America friendly, the Supreme Court is in a position to control the functions of our country at every level. Remember, the American democracy is based on a three prong system of the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch. The executive branch leads from the White House. The legislative branch sees to the enactment of the laws, budgeting, and funding. The judicial branch, as the referee, oversees the legality of these matters as well as is the final say in justice system. Nowhere in the Constitution does it give the SCOTUS the opportunity to “free-form” it’s way through judicial discourse to create an environment more “friendly” for a particular segment of our society.

With it’s internally led ruling on the Citizens United case, the SCOTUS granted individual rights to corporations. I believe this is potentially the most dangerous ruling ever brought down by the Court. This ruling will actually jeopardize our democracy as we know it. It opens the floodgates for corporations to pour unlimited amounts of money into our political process, thus making every elected political office in America for sale. Another scary aspect of this ruling is the point that these companies don’t even have to be American! All politicians, all patriots, and all Americans should be very concerned about this awful ruling. Well, the new star of the U.S. Senate, Al Franken(D-MN), is.

Yesterday’s capricious ruling, on yet another 5-4 vote, regarding 2nd Amendment issues or rights is another example of the reckless nature this Court in endangering America. It says the 2nd Amendment supercedes all local and state gun-control laws. As pinhead Alito wrote, it is a basic right of Americans to “bear arms”. Two fallouts to this short-sided pro-NRA decision are the incredible disaster that will befall courtrooms around the country as gun lovers start proceedings against their own particular jurisdictions and their gun-control laws. The other is the fact the Constitution was written over two hundred years ago and the framers had no idea what the effect of people wielding assault weapons without controls would have on our society. There is no rational reason or excuse for a private American citizen to own an assault weapon. These weapons are for one purpose only, to kill humans!

This SCOTUS is on track to destroy America. The conservatives who keep putting these fascists on the Court obviously have no idea of what’s happening. It’s interesting listening to the conservative blowhards railing against “judicial activism” and how bad it is for America. Well thanks to these empty-headed idiots in Congress and the Presidents who nominated the future justices, we now have the most “activist” court in history. No Court at any level has the history of “legislating from the bench” as this present Robert’s Court. The SCOTUS has put the rights and freedoms of Americans in jeopardy and it’s time for people to jump in behind Senator Franken and expose them for what they are and start to change the direction they are going! Thank you.
Cam Obert

MAKING SENSE FOR A MARK DAYTON CANDIDACY AND GOVERNORSHIP

June 28, 2010

I have previously come out in full support of Senator Dayton’s candidacy for the Governor’s seat in Minnesota. Having a discussion over the weekend with an avid young supporter of the “party endorsed” candidate, has moved me to try to make more sense for a Dayton Governorship. The argument given by the other side is Dayton is too old and entrenched, the Minnesota Democrats need new blood! I got news for all of you Democrats, Margaret Anderson-Kelliher is hardly fresh blood. She has been tenured in the Minnesota House long enough to be made Speaker by her fellow Democrats. House members aren’t really known to appoint or support fresh-faced youngsters to leadership positions. MAK is as deeply entrenched in the party machinery as anyone in office in the state of Minnesota. Matt Entenza is also fairly well grounded in the ways of Saint Paul, serving many years in the House, including a term as Minority Leader.

Let me point out why drawing this comparison between MAK and to a lesser degree, Entenza is important. These two candidates have long-term and deep ties to the members of the Minnesota House and Senate, from both sides of the aisle. I believe at an important time in the state’s history as the present, we don’t need a leader who is too closely attached to the members of their own party or too deeply at odds with the members from the other side. Now is the time for an independent voice, or force, to handle the train wreck Pawlenty and the Republicans are leaving the state. MAK can’t prevail because she has the backing of “the party”, which hasn’t done crap on either side in the last twenty-eight years. If people think of MAK as the “new voice” of leadership, she was pushed up there by the same old party hacks that have been running the party for years. If I may add, they have a horrible track record to boot!

Dayton is the fresh new voice of leadership with the bonus of a great track record of achievement. This time around he did “buck the system”. The rational was perfect. This is an important time in Minnesota’s history and it needs independent progressive force to move it along. He is the first candidate to have the balls to agree the state has a revenue problem, not a spending problem. He has recommended an increase in the income tax for the top income earners in the state. He supports the development of a state-run casino with profits earmarked for education. Have you heard any of the other “fresh voice” candidates being so bold? No, because they have too many ties to entities that don’t support these radical but necessary moves. As the former state auditor, I’d say he has a real understanding of what it takes to operate a functioning and efficient state government. He is the ONLY candidate in the field that will enter the Governors office unencumbered by money interests, PAC’s, big donors, and existing relationships in the Minnesota Legislature. People who say Senator Dayton can’t lead or legislate for the poor and disadvantaged because of his personal wealth. Let me point out two items here about the Senator. He taught in New York City Public Schools for two years after graduating from school. This is not simply an addition to the old resume, it is a life’s experience that cannot be duplicated. As the senior Senator from Minnesota, he was considered one of the “true liberals” in the Senate. His votes were right there with Senators Wellstone and Kennedy. He has a track record of fighting for the disadvantaged, more so than any other candidate in the field.

Senator Dayton has been called “quirky” by some at times. Right now, after twelve years of state leadership that has run the state right into the ditch, I think “quirky” works. It’s time for the old line Democrats in the state to step aside, give up your last hold on whatever you think you’re holding onto, like say the failed caucus/convention system which I believe is still in operation to keep people feeling they are doing something. In the last twenty-eight years in Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty is the only candidate to win the office coming out of a state party convention. Pretty dismal record, huh? Senator Dayton is following the lead from Governors Perpich and Carlson, both great two-term Governors that were elected in spite of their party’s rejection of them.

For those of you that believe Senator Dayton is from the past, the old line that can’t lead again, just think about what I have written here today. I think the ONLY conclusion you can come to is, Senator Dayton is the fresh voice from the outside. He is not encumbered by relationships, PAC’s, and large money donations. He has great labor support but does not take their money. Some of the state’s biggest and most influential unions have endorsed Senator Dayton. They endorse him because of his documented record of support. He doesn’t need their money to support their cause. Senator Dayton is a brilliant thinker, sometimes “outside the box”, but that what the state needs now, creative ways to increase revenue, etc.

Senator Mark Dayton is a proud liberal with a great progressive track record that the state of Minnesota desperately needs now. It’s time to get our state back to where it was prior to twelve years ago, a national leader of progressive governance and leadership. Senator Dayton IS the fresh new energetic leader the state is yearning for. I think if people could put their personal bias aside regarding “rich people” and understand what I’ve written here as well as researching deeper things Mark Dayton, you will be in agreement with me, Senator Mark Dayton is the choice and the favorite to become Minnesota’s next great Governor! Thank you.
Cam Obert

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND WALL STREET REFORM

June 26, 2010

In a rare Saturday commentary today I will discuss these two issues that were prominent in the news this week. I have been absent from the keyboard the past two days mostly because of work and children chauffering demands. But today, wife Karen is going to do the chauffering business and I will go to work a little later, let the ground dry out a little after the deluge of rain we had in the Twin Cities last night! The forecast for today is hot, 87 degrees, and very humid leading up to another round of heavy thunderstorms in the early evening. I’ll fight though the heat and humidity to try to advance another landscape job to fruition!

In an attempt by the White House and the Democratic Senate to extend unemployment benefits for workers that have yet to find work through this long economic recovery period, we find out exactly what the program is of the McChinless led Republicant Senate. The Republicant Senate successfully blocked the passage of the bill by voting negatively together including a nay from Ben Nelson, conservative curmudgeon Democrat from Nebraska. The difference between this weeks Republicant actions compared to the anti-stance by the doddering and sleepy Jim Bunning of Kentucky last time around is Bunning was trying to stand on a hard financially based position. Now the whole caucus, including Nelson, are opposed to the passage of the bill for other reasons, personal, mean, cold-hearted reasons. This time around instead of fighting the bill on rational grounds, they have opened up an attack on Americans that have fallen on hard times. Using terms such as “lazy”, “unmotivated”, “drug dealers”, “mooches”, etc. This is coming from elected officials that were elected into office to protect and secure the population from such things as economic downturns. Now they have turned against them! Turned against the people who voted them into office! I’ve heard of being “ballsy” before but, this one takes the cake. On a related note, Governor Jan Brewer of the whacked out state of Arizona made statements referring to undocumented aliens coming across the border as “drug mules”! Purely an ignorant racist comment that seems to be a clear signal of where the right-wing extremists are taking the Republicant party. Let’s face the facts here, the Republicant party is not interested in helping the disadvantaged, they are only interested in helping the wealthy and powerful money brokers that fund the engine of the party and now more recently, the Tea-Baggers, etc. that are lusting more power and influence. The statements coming out of the right side of the Senate are cold and hateful. They simply don’t give a shit about people who are down on their luck. They give us the cursory “it’s not good for the economy” line but we know different. They say it’s better to eliminate money from the consuming public than have them have the opportunity to pay their bills, buy food, and keep a roof over their head. I can’t think of a single positive point for allowing people to fall into bankruptcy as a result of the economy, not stupid personal decisions, I can’t think of a single positive point to letting more homes go into foreclosure, I can’t think of a single positive point for letting people apply for welfare or assistance, I can’t think of a single positive point for letting people give up paying their health insurance premiums, nor can I see any positives for letting people go off their prescription medication for lack of money to pay the bill. These are some of the consequences that occur when you allow these “mooches” to go off unemployment insurance. Now, add up the costs to society and the government for these consequences and compare it to the extension of the benefits package cost and what do you see? You see the monetary cost of not passing the bill will easily exceed the costs of passing the bill. Plus, it helps disadvantaged people in a time of need. Isn’t that why we elect these people into office? To help take care of financially disadvantaged people function in the most advanced and supposedly civilized society in the world. Anything less than that is totally unacceptable and abominable. Come on Republicants, start thinking about your voter constituency, not your Wall Street constituency. Pull your collective heads out of your asses and start serving the people who put you into office. Ed Schultz was right when he said the other day after the 57 to 41 vote on the package, the Republicants better be careful this fall. America is watching you all, and hopefully the Democrats will start beating the drum of the Republicant’s indifference toward it’s constituency.

President Obama has yet another victory in the movement of the agenda to make America great again. With the writing of the Dodd-Frank Act for Wall Street, banking and insurance reform, this is the most progressive consumer sided legislation in decades. Finally there are restraints that will legally prevent all financial abuse of consumers in America. The great thing is, though the bill is 2,000 pages in length, it is so much common-sense based. Once in place and finalized, it will be so easy for consumers to stay on top of their financial business responsibly and call out any financial institution that is trying to beat the new system and lay down a new fucking on the consumer. Why did it take so long for this type of legislation to come to passage? Simple. You know that constituency the Republicants, well all politicians for that matter, cater too, the money interests of Wall Street and Corporate America, they fought it. But after the meltdown of 2008, many insightful politicians saw the light, found Wall Street is not their constituency, and went to work fixing things. This really is a banner piece of legislation in American history. In time, I believe, it will be refered to on the same level of the Voters Rights Act, Social Security, Medicare, etc. This is a victory for the middle-class, finally something for the slimming majority of America.

That’s it for today, the wet ground is calling me! This truly was an important week in America and Washington. President Obama has now gotten more legislation from his agenda for hope in America passed than any President in the modern era. What is really remarkable is the Republicant Congress has broken every record for filibusters and stalling tactics. They have held up more judicial and Presidential appointments than any Congress in history. I think it says Americans in 2008 knew the country was sliding into the proverbial toilet and they wanted things to change. President Obama is leading the wave of change with the support of America, not the Republicant Congress. As I stated earlier, the Republicants better be careful because if the Democratic party listens to me, they will get killed in November. How can America even consider putting these unworking, lazy nabobs of negativity back into office. In the private sector, they would have been fired for lack of production! Why have them back? Anyway, thanks for today’s read and have a great weekend.
Cam Obert

I’VE LEARNED A LESSON, I HOPE…

June 23, 2010

…when opining on local non-political issues. In the case where I took a firm stance on a labor action in the Twin Cities, I found out it is a hot emotional issue. I don’t know why I got so fired up about this topic but, I did. Being a tireless blogger in defense of the poor defenseless soles that are unfortunately born in the wrong country, have the wrong skin color, parents that raised them in the wrong religion, or people who have a sexual preference that’s different from “normal”, I was shocked at the response I have gotten to the my position regarding this labor-management dispute.

I don’t follow lock-step with the liberal-progressive agenda. Most right-wing wackos would tell you I do! I am that liberal agenda follower and believer for about 99% of it. I have to say , however, I have a long background in business and I do have to look at the whole picture whenever dealing with business related activities. Friends of mine will tell you I am the “consummate workaholic”. I firmly believe you don’t walk away from a job until the job is done. Because of that attitude, I have spent the better part of my adult life working. Working long hard hours many times and years forgoing days off and vacations. I believe hard honorable work is the backbone of our great society. I have spent an entire career with the attitude the job and it’s results come first. A hard days work deserves a good wage. I believe if people who work for people turn in a good days work, are honest, and support the effort of their employers to gain goals will be rewarded. Workers need to have a better understanding of the “big picture”. They need to be aware of local and/or national economic conditions, they need to be aware of the financial position of the entity for which they work, and they need to understand corporate/company hierarchy and the respect that hierarchy. What the owners, directors, and executive management compensate themselves is really not the business of those lower in the hierarchy of the entity. They are compensated by what the market will bear for their particular positions and more than likely they are not going to concede a penny of it to anyone. Workers on the lower rungs need to understand this concept and simply work hard to some day rise to those levels in the entity.

I do believe if a workplace is a dangerous, divisive, and otherwise hostile, then the workers need to do something about it. All workers in the world should have the “right” to work in a decent and safe environment. If workers cannot achieve this position of safety, decency, and fairness, then should have the ability to work with management to rectify these workplace conditions. I support them 100% on this platform. Classic examples are the work environments created in big coal and big oil industries by the felonious Dick Cheeney and the corrupt leaders of said industries. The 29 miners killed this past winter in West Virginia and the 11 oilmen killed on the Deepwater Horizon well are directly a result of the Cheeney led deregulation and soft oversight of these businesses. My hope is Cheeney will do prison time as being an architect of deaths at the work site.

I come from a family of long time organized labor membership and labor solidarity. My father and certainly my grandfather would not be very happy with me and my opinion of this particular labor action in the Twin Cities. My grandfather thought the sun rose and set on Jimmy Hoffa’s shoulders! He was involved in the ugly long strikes in the 1930’s in Minneapolis, many which were violent to the point of National Guard called in armed and shooting. Grampa always said there were two political parties in Minnesota, the Democratic-Farm-Labor party and the management sympathizing Republican-Sons-Of-Bitches! You think I’d be getting my ass kicked by him now? Anyway, this is one case where I’m just not on Dad’s and Grampa’s side. I would still have their unwavering support, love, and respect. You see, and they would know, I’m not a political Lemming. I study the issues from all sides and base my issue stances on my research. Based on being just bright enough, barely!, my research and heart have made me a proud liberal.

The lesson learned is some local non-political issues are best to be kept to one’s self. I have jeopardized friendships with many of my progressive liberal friends because this is an emotional topic and it burns intensely within many people. Suffice to say, this will be my last public discussion of labor action issues. It’s not worth the damage to friendships and in the long-term, nobody’s going to change their mind anyway. Thanks for today’s read and please enjoy the day!
Cam Obert

Grampa's Hero-Jimmy Hoffa

AFGHAN OCCUPATION IS CAUSE FOR INSUBORDINATION

June 22, 2010

Root source of the problem!

President Obama has called General Stanley McChrystal back to the White House to hopefully fire him face-to-face and man-to-man. In what is now McChrystal’s third act of gross insubordination since taking the job of Commander of Afghan operations. I’m not sure what McChrystal’s agenda is but, I know it’s NOT to follow the civilian leadership of the Department of Defense or the President.

I have two theories here about this situation. The first one is McChrystal is a far right-wing wacko who is following the leadership of Fox News in trying every way possible to tear down this President. It takes a lot of arrogance or stupidity to try undermining the Commander-in-Chief not only once, but three times. Ailes, Limbaugh, Hannity, and Palin must be pushing McChrystal hard! Is it possible McChrystal is that stupid to throw away a long career in the service just to get in tight with the right-wing extremists? Maybe! The other theory of mine is McChrystal’s mentality or ego driving him to believe there actually is a military solution to the problem in Afghanistan. American armed forces and the covert operations of the CIA, etc. have done a great job of driving the al Qaeda and Taliban out of Afghanistan. The center point of the war should now be in Pakistan. In past history, the French tried and failed and the Russians tried and failed to gain military victory in Afghanistan. A military “victory” or solution in Afghanistan is not possible, so if it was McChrystal’s dream to be “the one” to finally win there and gain control, he’s only dreaming, and wasting too many human lives chasing his egotistical dream.

The U.S. occupation of Afghanistan has gone on way too long. The fact the nerve centers of al Qaeda and Taliban have been chased into Pakistan has really made Afghanistan irrelevant. The country is composed of many tribal run regions that really have no interest in Afghanistan having a central government. Anyone thinking that the taking over in Afghanistan is what it will take is dead wrong. The tribes don’t care who is in charge in Kabul. Any entity trying to take over control will only face an eons long battle against countless foes from all directions. There is no such thing as “winning” in Afghanistan.

My advice to President Obama is get out of Afghanistan now. It’s time to regroup. Bring the troops home and then concentrate the effort on the hinterlands of Pakistan with only high-tech weaponry, drones, etc, and let the Pakistani ground troops do the fighting, if they want to join the effort. Obama was right, the real war on al Qaeda was in Afghanistan. Bush should have recognized this in 2001 and focussed the military effort there, and not Iraq. In the last eighteen months, the operations under the leadership of President Obama and DOD Secretary Gates have proven to be as successful as can be hoped for. They’ve captured or killed more of the al Qaeda leaders than the preceeding eight years combined and they’ve driven them out of their strongholds in Afghanistan.

It is time, now, to bring the troops in Afghanistan home. Let that country return to its ancient and tribal way of life. Will they still harbor international terrorists? Probably. Will they continue with corrupt leadership? Of course!, the economy is based on poppy cultivation for the manufacture of heroin to supply the demand from around the globe. That is not America’s business to care about heroin distribution out of Afghanistan, it is America’s duty to decrease or eliminate the demand for the drug within our own borders. Look, Afghanistan is no more a threat to the safety and sovereignty of the U.S. as Iraq was under Hussein. The Taliban wants control in Afghanistan and nowhere else right now. So we need to let them have it.

So, as you can see, I have nailed the issue right on the head again. I’m thinking of contacting the President to tell him perhaps he would be better off with me advising him from his White House staff and having Rahm Emanuel move on! Oh well! Hey, thanks for today’s read.
Cam Obert

NATIONAL REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP, IS THERE ANY?

June 21, 2010

Long-time conservative Republican and former Congressman Joe Scarborough has, I think, accurately pointed out the leader of the rudderless party as Roger Ales, program director at Fox News Network. How’s that for a fine how do ‘ya do? Ales is a former conservative political advisor to many Republican politicians, so he does know conservative politics. With the growing influence of Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh on Republican party politics and policy, the negatives will outweigh the positives. Because Ales and his boss, Rupert Murdoch, seem to be operating with blinkers affixed, the party is losing touch with its true core, the moderate to mainstream Republican loyalists.

By taking the cue from the extremists on the right, the leadership, Ales and Fox, have narrowed the potential population that would be considered to be on their side. As poll after poll have suggested for the past many decades, the percentage of populace that identifies itself with the right-wing extremists is less than 20%. Considering the polls also suggest the entire population identifies itself as Republican or Republican leaning hover around that 45% level. Not only are the extremists comprising less than 50% of the party but, by kowtowing to the right-wing, the party has made a policy decision to ignore the independent and conservative Democratic voters. Considering these past few national elections seem to hang on a party’s ability to get the independent and party crossover vote, this policy by Ales and the party leadership is definitely a dead-end. This is what happens when a party is left leaderless to simply float aimlessly along until the vacuum created by the absence of leadership sucks in such a radical leader as Fox News.

Who is stumping for the Republicans? Who are the leaders of the Republican political movement toward the 2010 mid-term and then the 2012 Presidential elections? Let’s take a look. First, Sarah Palin is on the Faux Noise payroll. So your front line spokesperson knows little of government, diplomacy, domestic policy, defense, and foreign policy. When her stump speech is essentially “drill baby drill” in light of the history of oil related catastrophes, “deport all illegal immigrants”, thus fomenting a growing hatred of innocent Latinos in America who are here looking for a better life, continuing to bar gays from serving in the military, opposition to same-sex marriage, and a staunch pro-life standing. When you analyze her presentation of these issues in her speeches, it’s obvious the content is “lightening-rod” material, very shallow, and a great tool to whip the less-enlightened Americans that actually follow her. Next is Sean Hannity. Watch Hannity closely when he is speaking, pay attention to his body language. Listen carefully to the intonation of his spoken words. Watch his facial expressions. Hannity is not a smart person by any measuring tool. He dun gradiated the twelfth grade! Anyway, I digress. When watching and listening to Hannity you can’t come away with any other conclusion than the one proving he is an insecure bigot. When speaking of our black President, there is a tone of hatred and pettiness. Hannity is very intimidated by anyone with a normal or above normal intellect. Bill-O the Clown tries to be a pundit of all sides but, because he works for Ales, guess where his allegiance generally falls. Greta Van Susteren is the weather vane of commentating “journalists”. At one time, she was a progressive Democrat from Wisconsin but, she saw the paychecks from Murdoch so she’s moved in lock-step with corporate. Britt Hume and Bill Kristol might as well be card-carrying members of the fascist-right. The awful hating vitriol that spews from their mouths is mind-blowing. That leaves us with Glenn “Lonesome Roads” Beck. Another of Faux’ brain trust that dun gradiated the twelfth grade! I will give credit to Beck though, he openly refers to himself as an entertainer, not a political pundit. He knows he’s a clown and openly admits it. The problem however, is there are people who really think what he says is right and proper. They missed the memo he issued referring to himself as an entertainer, not an expert, not a pundit, and certainly not a journalist.

Our other right-wing “entertainer” and long-time leader of the Republican right is Rush Limbaugh. Like Beck, he does refer to himself as an entertainer, not a journalist, pundit, or expert. I think Rush covers himself with this vail so that when he does make he hate-filled racist statements he can simply proclaim he’s just a dumb-ass entertainer! Again, the empty-headed morons that follow Rush didn’t get that memo either.

Based on this more than capable and credible leadership, how could the Republicans possibly fail at the polls, tongue in cheek? I believe based on today’s circumstances, the mid-terms should be teed up for the Democrats again. They only need to campaign on the buffoonery of the Republicans and their total lack of clarity on the issues. That doesn’t mean their clarity on the issues of education funding opposition, on immigrant expulsion and hatred, supporting BP and other big energy companies, the build-up of the DOD, opposition to anything pro equal rights for blacks, women, gays, and religious beliefs other than the old white men that control the right, etc. I firmly believe the Republicans could be in trouble this fall if the Democrats work it correctly. Let the idiots bury themselves, they will if given the time and place! Thanks for today’s read.
Cam Obert

OUR NATIONAL OPEN WEEKEND-GREAT AMERICAN SPORTS ABOUND!

June 18, 2010

17 year old Ryo Ishikawa

We are on the precipice of my second favorite sports weekend of the year. Only Masters week is more exciting than U.S. Open week. With round 1 done, the no-names on top of the leader board will wake up and collapse under the pressure. I think Pebble Beach, especially the way the USGA sets it up for the Open, may be one of the toughest Open courses yet!, Tiger already complained about the skinned poa greens. The fairways have been narrowed and of course, the rough is long and thick.

I have so many favorites now on the tour, it’s hard for me to just root for one guy. Most of my favorites are now the ‘young guns” out there. I love watching these guys with their 130 plus mile per hour swings launching 330 yard rising draw shots. An absolute thing of athletic beauty! I identify with them because for most of my life I’ve been told by golfing “experts” to slow my swing down. Six years ago, I was in the cage getting marked and measured for my new set of custom Tommy Armour irons. While there, I experimented with my driver, and then many other off the shelf drivers. They clocked me at 133 mph with a state of the art light weight big head driver. By the way, that is now the driver in my bag, a Titlest D series! Until a few years ago, I could out drive most every body I partnered with on the course. But, age, condition, and numerous injuries have forced me to play a less exciting brand of golf now. I must be settling into old age golf! I digress. I would be ecstatic if a Ryo, Rory, Rickey or any of the other “kids” came away with the title. Anyway, plenty of weekend time in front of the big screen in seventh heaven!

My beloved Twins folded yesterday to Ubaldo Jimenez, arguably putting together the best season for a starting pitcher in the majors since Bob Gibson in 1968! Gibby was 22-7 with an astounding era of 1.12! He also had 19 complete games that year. Oh, for the days of no pitch counts again! Jimenez is now 13-1 with an era of around one! Phenomenal! Now the Twins march into Philly tonight for a weekend series that begins by facing Roy Halliday. The Twins really always sink in a mental fog when facing any great pitcher, any way overweight Latino junk-balling pitcher, or the Yankees. To the team’s credit though, they are still in first place in spite of having to play with line-ups consisting of as many as three minor league players at a time. The injury bug has been hard on them this year. They need to kick it in gear now, Detroit is playing great ball and is now only a game and a half behind the Twins.

With the Twins on a road trip, Target Field will host the Minnesota State High School Baseball Championships. All three classes will play there on Saturday. I am going to try to get there to watch. Fortunetly, the Open television coverage goes late into the night so I won’t have to miss much of it to see the baseball tournament. What a wonderful opportunity for these kids to play on the field of their favorite home team. It’s a beautiful brand new stadium that the Twins donated to the Minnesota State High School League for the championships. I can’t ever say it enough, I love the Twins. A truly quality organization from the top down. There is not a single thug on the roster. The Twins draft and trade for players of high moral and ethical values and it shows. They are all involved in community benefit programs. I’ll bet you can’t find an NBA or NFL franchise that can make that claim!

The boredom and droning on of the World Cup continues this weekend. Thank God, adult America won’t embrace this sport! Because America has so many other sports to offer, soccer just can’t get a foothold in here. Hockey, too, has had trouble catching on. This is why soccer won’t ever make it in America. American’s are very competitive. American’s demand action with results. In every walk of our lives, we are measured by results. With soccer, there is a better chance than not that the game will end in a 0-0 tie or 1-1 tie. Soccer games do sometimes produce a winner. But, the agony of the length of the game, the endless running back and forth by the players on this huge field usually puts America asleep. At least hockey, played on a much smaller surface, is very fast, very athletic, and very physical. There is a lot of hitting on the ice and that kind of excitement can overcome some lack of scoring. But, even hockey isn’t really catching on with Americans. I have a friend in the Washington DC area who owned an indoor soccer facility. In conversation with him, I gleaned his take on soccer in America. Alan is a Brit, a soccer player, played in the old and failed U.S. Soccer league. He played and coached the Washington Diplomat franchise. Alan told me soccer works for kids in America because he says it’s a “catch-all” activity for the kids and for the parents to get their kids involved in something. He was telling me that the traditional American sports create problems for much of American youth. Baseball is a real “skill” sport, that requires very hard work, focus and practice. Football for kids requires size and some athleticism. And basketball requires speed, size, endurance, athleticism and very specific skills like shooting, passing, receiving, and playing defense. Alan thinks because there are so many kids that can’t qualify for those sports end up in soccer. At the youth level, soccer is about running and kicking the ball. He says it’s an easier sport for most kids to grasp and participate. He did note, however, that soccer by high school age in America is pretty much dead.

So all around the world where soccer is THE sport, fans of the game are fanatics. Ever notice the riots that occur at soccer games around the world. People literally trampled to death by crowds at games. If a city’s team wins a major game, most of those cities pay the price with a burned down central business district! They call this exuberance? I call it insanity. The worst that happens in the U.S. is if the city of Detroit wins some kind of sports championship, some cars get tipped over and burned, store windows get smashed, some looting follows, and police are generally attacked. But, that’s only in Detroit, and most of us know Detroit is generally a problem city anyway!

That’s this weekend in sports, have a great weekend and thank you for today’s read.
Cam Obert

THE NORTH STAR STATE TODAY, WHAT’S UP?

June 17, 2010

Let me start with the unrelenting rain. It has rained in the Twin Cities 13 of the first 16 days of the month! Sure the lawns are all green and growing and mushrooms are sprouting up everywhere! My brother Tom yesterday suggested any golf course that isn’t in pristine condition right now in Minnesota, that grounds keeper should be fired! I have been coming home most every evening after landscaping all day covered in mud and soaking wet. It does tend to make me crabby! On flip side, my clients with landscaping jobs I’ve completed are absolutely delighted with the results. Now they would like the opportunity to go out in their yards and enjoy the new beauty without getting rained on! I am commencing work on two new clients properties this week, then I’ll be looking for more business. If you need to beautify or personalize your property, please give me a call, 612-747-5575.

My candidate for Governor, Senator Mark Dayton is humming along just fine right now. Minnesotans obviously like what they see as he is kicking Republican candidate Tom Emmer’s ass in the polls. Emmer, the Palin and Tea-Bagger endorsed wacko really has no shot at victory in November. I’m not necessarily opposed to Matt Entenza’s candidacy for governor. Like Dayton, he wisely avoided the nonsense of the caucus/convention system and is working straight to the primary. In my opinion, where he lost me was his pick of Robyn Roberts as his running mate. She is very bright and grasps the issues but, she’s a career journalist. So, not only does she not have any legislative experience, she has no executive experience either. This office is one step from the governorship. I will say she would certainly be better than the present Lt. Governor, Carol Molnow! Margaret Anderson-Kelliher’s camp is complaining about their campaigns big money disadvantage. While Entenza has been buying TV time for well over a month and Dayton will be jumping in now, MAK apparently can only dream about it. When I questioned the need of the redundant and excessive caucus/convention system, proponents told me the candidate needs the endorsement to get more money. I countered with the “right” candidate will get the money no matter what. It’s called sales, experience, and history. MAK is falling back and won’t recover in time for the primary.

My Congressperson is Betty McCollum. Next to Congressman Keith Ellison hold on his seat, McCollum probably has the safest seat in Congress. We are Bruce Vento’s old seat and have a great progressive history thanks to the late Congressman. The sacrificial lamb the Republicans are throwing at McCollum this year is a woman whose name escapes me now, but it doesn’t matter. She did pop up in the news lately because of her history of driving while intoxicated. Yawn!

Over in CD-6, we have the darling of the mentally deficient Americans, Michele Bachmann, trying to hold that seat. I’m not sure how the people of this district have voted her in twice. She has a history of bizarre behavior and making stupid outrageous statements. I guess she doesn’t get it or the people in her district are the biggest idiots in the United States. It’s as if she is flaunting her stupidity and daring the voters in her district to vote her in again. Just yesterday she made a statement flat-out, 100% defending BP, and making the federal government the villain in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill! She is the only politician to come this far forward in defense of BP. In my mind, she must be trying commit political suicide! If my candidate, Tarryl Clark, does not prevail in November, I will start a campaign to get CD-6 removed from the state of Minnesota!

It looks like Depublican Collin Peterson will get voted back to Congress in CD-7. Another case of what in the hell are the people in this district thinking?

Congressman Tim Waltz, in CD-1 may have a struggle to get re-elected for a second term. If he doesn’t get back in, shame on the folks of the district. This a school teacher with deep concerns for his district and works very hard for the betterment of the whole country. He is a very decent gentleman that we as Minnesotans should demand he continue to represent us and his district in Congress.

I got my tit in the wringer last week regarding the labor action by the Minnesota Nurses Association. I was savaged by even close friends and political allies for my “anti-union” stance. In spite of the fact I complained about the union’s presentation of their side in a sneaky sly way. I have no bone to pick with nurses, they work hard, are held accountable, and generally really care about what they do. After the joining of the MNA with the national nurses union, things changed. The picture they painted to the media is one of staff shortages, nurse-patient ratios, and patient safety. I have had nurses go after me for getting that information from media sources. I’m a member of the public and that’s where the info comes from. Burried farther down the list of demands is the request for a 10% pay increase over the next three years, benefits enhancements, and pension enhancements. The union buried these other demands because the economy simply is not good. Hospitals are working on a 6% margin, that doesn’t leave much room to accommodate hiccups in business. The hospitals did show a profit of 700 million last year on the heals of being backward almost 600 million the year before. Hospital administrators don’t make that much money, in relative terms. The complaint was there are 300 some non-medical people in the affected 14 hospitals making over 300,000 per year. Guess what folks, hospitals don’t run themselves! They need management, human resources, admin support, janitorial, accounting, etc. I believe the union slyly presented it’s story to the media and public because the unemployment rate is close to 8% in the Twin Cities and many people have foregone raises and benefit enhancements even taken pay cuts simply to stay working. The reason the union wasn’t honest and forthright in their presentation was because I believe they were concerned about negative reaction due to the pay and benefit enhancements demands in light of so many people losing their jobs or taking cuts in pay just to keep working. Well, with a push from the national union, the MNA is voting on June 21 to go out on an open-ended strike. I feel bad for the nurses if they do that because public reaction will turn against them in fairly short order.

One last local issue is the sky-rocketing murder rate in Minneapolis. I have very strong opinions about this that Mayor Rybak doesn’t want to hear nor do liberals elsewhere in the community. I think the residents of the affected areas however, would agree with my positions 100%. After all, aren’t these the people who should be giving the input that is actually used? Look, concerned citizen marches that happen after every murder do nothing. Having the Mayor marching with these people accomplishes nothing. Nothing changes in these high-crime areas. It’s real simple, STOP MOLLY-CODDLING THE CRIMINALS! They are the thugs that have no respect for human life or personal property. Why does the city keep trying rehab programs and the like that all fail. They keep throwing money and programs at these areas and nothing ever changes. It’s time to clear the slate. Minimize the rights of the criminals. Throw them in jail for even spitting on the sidewalk. Find the drug users, the base reason for the existence of gangs and drug deals, and get them out of these areas. Lock them up in rehab programs away from local influences. Reduce the demand, and the suppliers will start to go away. The police and the judicial system need to put the criminals away. Many of them have records and are repeat offenders. Why do these people have any rights? Many of the criminals have histories of showing no respect for human beings and for others personal property. I believe once the criminal element has been eliminated, the area will be more open to programs to help parents and neighborhoods to keep their own areas clean and safe. Mayor Rybak needs to seriously look into the huge disparity between White/Asian descent high school graduation rates and Brown, Black, and Red skinned graduation rates. The largest spread of any city in the U.S. I’m sure this is a contributing factor to the escalating crime rate. I’m just sick and tired of the “same ol’ same ol’ mentality” in Minneapolis. I get emotional about it because I love the city and I want my fellow suburbanites to be able to go into the city without fear. I’m sure I’ll get ripped by people for being so hard-nosed about his, but too bad! Nothing else has worked, it’s time to kick the thug’s asses into jail and keep them there! Thanks for today’s read.
Cam Obert

WHAT THE HELL DOES AMERICA WANT FROM THIS PRESIDENT?

June 16, 2010

The President delivered a very thoughtful and complete speech from the Oval Office last night where he outlined the action being taken on the Gulf oil spill, the accountability and culpability of BP in this mess, and the need for new a new and progressive energy policy that relies heavily on the development of alternative energy sources. The speech was presented in a very intelligent and easy way to understand. The President had to instruct the country, the right-wing hates it when the President is professorial, so that maybe America will have a better understanding of the situation. Well, the wolves started howling immediately after the speech.

The left-wing pundits were yelling because they didn’t think he went far enough with the details. They wanted the President to spill BP’s blood with rage. The right-wing was irate because they feel the President was talking over their heads again and they just don’t understand the issue. What does America want from this guy? I am so sick of the baseless attacks being launched at him daily from all sides. It’s like hardly anybody in this country has a fucking clue what is involved with being the POTUS. If he caves in and gives something to everyone, he is called spineless. If he sets forth a policy demands or issue that he feels has to be accomplished, he is called rigid and uncaring. Who in the hell would want such a thankless job?

The President’s address last night was really a follow-up on his two-day visit to the affected areas in the four states on the Gulf. I have been critical of the politicians and pundits that have been calling for him to get his ass down to the Gulf, talk and listen to the people, and assure them the government is on top of the situation. Apparently I have been wrong. I guess people need that “emotional” boost by a Presidential visit. In fact, even the most conservative Republicans in the area say the President IS DOING A GOOD JOB with his handling of the spill. Obama’s problem has been with empty-headed moronic demagogues like James Carville, Bobby Jindal, Rush, and the Faux Noise Network, that continue to say the President is not doing the job of a leader on this catastrophe gets the ear of the rest of the country and thus driving the President’s approval ratings down. By addressing the affected people of the Gulf region, he has their support and admiration, the rest of the country can go to hell for being so damned ignorant! I remind you folks once again, the laws of the country regarding oil spills DO NOT compel the President or the government to take care of the problem. Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA), ran on and promotes small government and little or no federal government taxation. Shortly after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, obviously not aware of the federal oil spill clean-up laws, Jindal was screaming for federal government action and money to get the thing plugged and cleaned up. Which way do you want it Bobby?, small government with no intervention that you ran on or do you want the federal government to take care of the problem and you and your Tea-Bagger supporters can pony up the tax dollars to pay for it? You can’t conveniently have it both ways, it doesn’t work that way. Besides, it would be a violation of law for the government to get involved in the repair and clean-up operations.

The President took the lead by setting up an independent agency to handle the funding with BP money in a managed escrow account. This is a pre-emptive strike to head off the total failure of the Exxon Valdez situation. After the Valdez spill in 1989, the original amounts estimated to handle lawsuits was approximately 5 billion dollars. To date, only about 500 million has been paid out. Twenty-one years later and Exxon is still stalling the process in appeals courts. Peoples’ lives were permanently ruined as a result of their carelessness and they are fighting paying for it! Unbelievable! Oh, another point regarding the Valdez, they are still finding and cleaning up oil at the spill site. The agency the President has proposed will take BP’s money upfront, and manage the distribution of funds to the affected parties in the Gulf region. This is a very smart and comforting move for the people of the Gulf region.

The critics of the address last night say the President didn’t go into enough detail for them. I think they were looking for his proposed points of a new federal energy policy. The address last night was not the proper forum for a detailed sales pitch for a new energy policy. Both sides were angry because he didn’t address cap-and-trade as a part of the new energy bill. Last night’s address was not intended to be a policy speech. Why can’t politicians and pundits see this? Certainly, I can’t believe I’m the only one smart enough to know this.

The President’s address last night accomplished what he set out to accomplish. It was an address aimed at the residents of the affected Gulf shore areas, a reassurance of what the government has done to date, what it will be doing and what it will do to hold BP accountable with hard measures to see to it the people in the area will be well cared for. Where is the outrage against BP, TransOcean, and Halliburton? They are the villains here, not the President. Why aren’t the politicians and pundits calling for the CEO’s of these companies to get down to the Gulf and assure the residents they are on top of things. The law DOES compel them to fix the problem. Talk about blind ignorance! They’ve been shooting at the wrong guy since day one of the disaster. Carville needs to understand President Obama is not the “daddy” of BP. Not only is BP not a government-run company, but it is a foreign company. Same as TransOcean, which is based in Switzerland. Now, Halliburton is an American based country. This where things get interesting to me. Prior to becoming Bush II’s VP, Dick Cheeney was the CEO of Halliburton. Halliburton awarded Cheeney with a 30 million dollar parting gift when he left the company to become a civil servant. While VP, Cheeney recommended to his dolt of a boss to get the country into two wars. While engaged in these wars, Halliburton was granted hundreds of millions of dollars of no-bid contracts with the DOD for service in the war zones. Hmmm? Later on the reign of Bush II, Cheeney was given the unofficial title of “energy tsar” with orders to write a new federal energy policy. With no fanfare or public knowledge, behind closed doors somewhere in the White House, Cheeney and the CEO’s and COO’s of the leading energy supply companies penned the federal energy policy. Because the energy companies essentially wrote the policy, there is a very noticable lack of regulation and oversight on the industry. Hmmm? So now the blood of the 29 killed coal miners in West Virginia last winter and the 11 roughnecks killed in the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon are on Cheeney’s hands. He knows he is responsible because he has become very silent and out of sight since the mine explosion. I’m sure he feels by staying under the radar he’s safe. Wrong! I’ve been on him for the corruption he ran out of the White House since the day the mine blew up. I will only get redemption and relief when I see that evil son-of-a-bitch behind bars!

So it’s time for Americans to start venting their anger and frustration at the energy companies and the Bush II administration, most particularly, Cheeney. President Obama is trapped once again with another disaster to clean up after the failed policies of the preceeding administration. As Americans, we owe it to the President to get educated on the facts and history before coming out with guns a firing! Thanks for today’s read, and please, send in your comments.
Cam Obert


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